200 million doses for 67 million inhabitants: why has France ordered so many vaccines?

    200 million doses for 67 million inhabitants: why has France ordered so many vaccines?

    STOCKS – Jean Castex communicated again this Wednesday, December 16 on the quantity of vaccines ordered by France. And it is clear that the number of doses questions as it is greater than the population of the country.

    – CQ

    To the deputies, Jean Castex detailed this Wednesday, December 16, the vaccination campaign launched by the end of the month and communicated again on the number of doses of vaccines that could gradually arrive on French soil. As part of a European agreement, “France has pre-ordered nearly 200 million doses to vaccinate 100 million people, since for most vaccines, two injections will be necessary”, he said before adding: “We will be delivered as the vaccines obtain their marketing authorization.”

    With France having “only” 67 million inhabitants, this goal of vaccinating 100 million people necessarily raises questions. In early December, when presenting the government’s vaccination strategy, the Prime Minister had the opportunity to explain this choice: “This is more than our needs, especially since not everyone will want to be vaccinated, but it is a safety margin that we take because some of the vaccines under development may not ultimately obtain their authorization. and that a wastage rate must be taken into account. ”

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    Inefficiency and breakage considered

    Two contingencies were taken into account in inventory management. First, the fact that among the six contracts signed by the European Union with laboratories to receive their vaccine, all might not be honored. Here, we are not talking about actual orders but pre-orders from Europe (and therefore from France). Indeed, some of these vaccine candidates may not obtain marketing authorization from the European Medicines Agency. At this point, the agency should only decide within a few days on the marketing of vaccines from Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna.

    “We will only pay at the end of what is actually delivered to us”, assured in this sense the head of government. A hazard that will also affect vaccines already on the market. As a European source told us at the beginning of December, “It is possible that some vaccines will prove in the coming months not effective enough to be used on a large scale.”

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    Then, the logistics of deliveries of these millions of doses are such that breakage is to be expected. This is what the Prime Minister means by “loss rate”. The delivery of mRNA vaccines, like the one developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, requires them to be stored at very low temperature, at -70 degrees, and especially not to break the cold chain, otherwise they would no longer be effective. This implies adding dry ice to them during their journey by plane and once they arrive in France, storing them in suitable warehouses.

    As such, 50 “super-freezers” were bought by the government, said mid-number Olivier Véran, who will be “linked to alarms” and “stored in secure places from which teams can deploy to then feed all those who will need to be vaccinated”.

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    If the green light from the European Medicines Agency is given on December 21, vaccination must begin in France the last week of December and first concern a million people in nursing homes. 1.16 million doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine should arrive in the country by the end of December, according to Jean Castex.

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